Primate Behaviour and Social Ecology

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Primate Behaviour and Social Ecology

In other words, it has a direct effect on their evolutionary fitness. As expected, primates demonstrate a lot of behavioral strategies to deal with the feeding competition they face. For example, a group with high scramble competition may spread out more when feeding so as to access more resources OR in a group with high contest competition, some individuals may form coalitions in order to "gang up on" other primates to take their food.

The area that a primate uses is its home range. The part of the home range that's used most often is the core area. Some species, such as snub-nosed monkeys , have very large home ranges 32 sq. A primate's home range has to contain all of the resources it needs in order to survive food, water, sleeping sites, etc. The home ranges of different primate groups often overlap, sometimes only a little, but sometimes a lot. If the home range is physically defended, it's a territory. Chimpanzees are famous for their territorial conflicts, which are so organized and violent that scientists have begun calling it " warfare ".

As noted in a previous section The Modern Non-Human Primates , one of the fundamental traits that primates share is that we are social creatures. All primates share some form of social structure with others of their own species, whether that be in a large permanent social group or as an individual who has repeated short-term interactions with others. The social relationships that primates have with other members of their own species have a huge impact on the individuals involved and are incredibly important to their health, well-being, and reproductive success.

Therefore, the study of primate social behavior has been a focus of primatologists for the last 50 years. The basic premise of why primates have certain social behaviors is due to reproductive asymmetry. Remember from "Food", on this page that females are under a lot more pressure than males to forage effectively because of the biological pressures they're under due to the burden of reproduction. It is precisely this inequality that causes the sexes to have different evolutionary priorities:.

So, why would a primate choose to be in a social group if it is just one big mess of food competition, mate competition, and political posturing? Reproduction in these societies is usually polygynous , and OMUs are always at risk of takeover by bachelor males, who may commit infanticide after taking over females with young infants.

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It is important to note that the social organization of a species might not be immediately apparent from its social structure. For example, both geladas Figure 1 and hamadryas baboons Figure 4 are characterized by multiple layers of society, and their social structure is almost identical. However, the social organization of these two species could not be more different Kummer , Dunbar In geladas, cohesion of OMUs is maintained by philopatric females, as each OMU is a female kin group and these kin groups are taken over as entire units by males.

In hamadryas, by contrast, cohesion of OMUs is maintained by philopatric males who take over females one by one, often exchanging them with other males in their clans Pines et al.

Thus, hamadryas social organization includes strong male-female bonds the glue that holds together an OMU and strong male-male bonds as males are philopatric and thus related to one another within bands and clans , whereas gelada social organization is characterized by strong female-female bonds which hold together OMUs but weak bonds between the sexes.

Moreover, one must be careful not to make assumptions about a species' mating system simply upon observing its social system. For example, multi-male multi-female groups of gorillas may have an age-graded dominance structure in which only the oldest, highest-ranking alpha silverback male is allowed to copulate; in this case, the mating system is not polygynandrous as one might expect in a multi-male group but instead polygynous Robbins Another example can be found in guenons, which live in one-male groups.

During the mating season multi-male influxes occur in which outside males come into the group, copulate with the females, and then leave again Cords The mating system in this case is not polygynous, which one would expect, but polygynandrous. Finally, gibbons and siamangs were first thought to be monogamous, but then observations of extra-pair mating i. Age-graded dominance structure : A pattern in which the oldest and most dominant male in a group prevents the younger, subordinate males from copulating with females and thus achieves a reproductive monopoly.

All-male group : A social group consisting exclusively of males, usually occurring in species with one-male groups or multi-level societies i. Band : A layer of social structure in the multi-level societies of geladas, hamadryas baboons, and snub-nosed monkeys that consists of multiple one-male units and generally remains relatively cohesive over space and time, analogous to the group or troop of other monkeys. Clan : A layer of social structure in the hamadryas social system between the one-male unit and the band, linked by social bonds and likely kinship among males. Competition : A state in which something is sought by more than one individual at the same time.

Cooperative breeding : A social system in which individuals care for offspring other than their own, usually at the expense of their own reproduction. Cooperative polyandry : A mating system in which one female copulates with more than one male, and all individuals in the group care for offspring, including the non-parent s.

Dispersal : Departure from one social group usually one's natal group typically followed by immigration into another, usually at reproductive maturity. Estrus : Period of increased sexual receptivity, attractivity, and proceptivity around the time of ovulation, accompanied in some species by external morphological cues such as sexual swellings. F ission-fusion community : A large social group that is less cohesive than a typical primate social group, in which sub-units of variable composition break apart and come together over time.

Female-female bonds : Strong social relationships among females, often deriving from close kinship as a result of female philopatry. Gregarious : Characterized by a high motivation to interact socially; engaging in frequent social interactions with other members of one's species. Grooming : A characteristic primate social behavior in which the hands are used to search through the fur for ectoparasites and debris, which are then removed. Harem : A term sometimes used for a one-male unit, usually of geladas or hamadryas baboons.

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Herd : A temporary aggregation of one-male units of geladas, similar to the hamadryas troop. Infanticide : Deliberate killing of infants, usually by males, and often in the context of immigration or takeovers. Male-male bonds : Strong social relationships among males, often deriving from close kinship among those males as a result of male philopatry.

Multi-level society : A social system characterized by multiple layers of social structure in which the smaller sub-units usually one-male units of consistent composition break apart and come together over time, also known as a hierarchical society or modular society. Multi-male influx : Temporary immigration into a group by multiple males, usually during the mating season. Multi-male multi-female group : A social group consisting of multiple adult males and multiple adult females. One-female multi-male group : A social group consisting of multiple adult males but only one adult female. One-male unit : The smallest layer of social structure in the multi-male societies of hamadryas baboons, geladas, and snub-nosed monkeys, consisting of one "leader male" and one or more females.

Philopatry : A pattern in which individuals remain in the social group in which they were born and do not disperse.

Play : Behavior characteristic of infants and juveniles in which normal elements of the behavioral repertoire are used in non-normal contexts and sequences. Polygynandry : A mating system in which members of both sexes copulate with multiple members of the opposite sex. Social bond : A term used for a social relationship, usually referring to relatively strong social relationships. Social group : An aggregation of individuals that is cohesive in space and time in which individuals tolerate one another and interact with one another.

Social organization : The patterns of spacing, interactions, dispersal, and philopatry characterizing a given species. Social structure : The typical size and composition of a social group for a given species. Social system : The specific pattern of group living and social interaction that characterizes a given species, including its social structure and social organization.

Socialization : The process of learning the social norms of a particular group or social system. Solitary dispersed : A social system in which individuals spend most of their time alone, especially during foraging, but usually maintain contact with other individuals via vocalizations and olfactory communication scent-marking.

Stress : A state of internal tension in which the body copes by producing stress hormones which, if chronic, can lead to suppression of the immune system. Takeover : The defeat of a resident male by a new male and the subsequent acquisition of the former resident male's female s. Territory : An area that is defended by members of a species usually a social group against other members of that same species. Troop : A temporary aggregation of bands of hamadryas baboons, similar to the gelada herd.

Also used as a general term referring to a social group of monkeys especially baboons. Crockford C. Social stressors and coping mechanisms in wild female baboons. Hormones and Behavior 53 , Dunbar, R. Engh, A. Female hierarchy instability, male immigration, and infanticide increase glucocorticoid levels in female chacma baboons.

Animal Behaviour 71 , Fuentes, A. Patterns and trends in primate pair bonds. International Journal of Primatology 23 , Hamilton, W.

Biological Anthropology/Unit 2: Non-human Primates/Primate Behavior and Ecology - WikiEducator

Geometry for the selfish herd. Journal of Theoretical Biology 31 , Henzi, S. The value of grooming to female primates. Primates 40 , Kummer, H. Dimensions of a comparative biology of primate groups. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 27 , Mason, W. Primate Social Conflict.

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Pereira, M. Robbins, M. Campbell et al. Palombit, R.

Primate Behavior and Ecology

Extra-pair copulations in a monogamous ape. Animal Behaviour 47 , Pines, M. Alternative routes to the leader male role in a multi-level society: Follower versus solitary male strategies and outcomes in hamadryas baboons. American Journal of Primatology 73 , Sapolsky, R.

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